Lesson 2 – Clicker Training Basics


Welcome. In this lesson, we are going to start discussing clicker training basics and learn all about reinforcers.

A proper understanding of the principles of reinforcement is important. This understanding is fundamental to clicker training basics. Most people know the word reinforcement. However, I find there exists a lot of confusion surrounding what it actually means. I’ve heard people say things like “reinforcement is just a fancy word for bribery” or “I don’t believe in reinforcement, animals are purely instinctual”.  Also, sometimes terms like negative reinforcement or punishment get confused. This lesson intends to clear up uncertainty and provide you with fun examples that you will be able to relate to.

I use positive reinforcement in all my training. This is what you will learn about in this course.  If you already have a good idea of what this means, great. Let this content be another reference point to what you already know. For those whom this information might be new. Take your time to absorb it and make sure you understand it before you move on to the next lesson.

Clicker Training Basics – Reinforcement definition:

  • Something that occurs immediately after behaviour.
  • Serves to maintain or increase the frequency of behaviour in the future.
  • Two types. Positive and Negative.
  • Positive means something is added to the environment.
  • Negative means something is removed.

In this course we are going to be applying the principles of positive reinforcement. so… when your animal does something you want, you are going to provide something it wants. You are going to do this immediately after your animal has done desirable behaviors. We are also going to be using the clicker. It will look like this.

Behavior —> Click—> Primary reinforcer or established reinforcer.

I will explain this in more detail in the next lesson. Correctly understanding reinforcement is a fundamental element of clicker training basics.